In poking, prodding and examining all 22 starters from inside the sultry Donbass Arena, England’s Telegraph apparently doesn’t think we need to beat on Joe Hart too much about the goal he allowed. I’m on board, as I’ve said already. So … check.
And he certainly agreed with Richard Farley that Scott Parker was a midfield tour du force of tackling, effort and savvy defensive positioning, a spirited exertion made all the more difficult by the stifling and muggy conditions. Check.
Samir Nasri, easily the best offensive man on either side. Check-arooney!
But I can’t say I agree with a couple of Jeremy Wilson’s ratings on Monday’s slightly sluggish England-France draw.
Patrice Evra with a “5” looks a wee bit generous, considering it was his clumsy foul that led to England’s only goal.
Karim Benzema with a “6” looks high to me. Anonymous in the first half, and only a couple of speculative, longer-range efforts later? Not enough for me. More than that, I really wanted more movement in and around England’s goal. Considering France’s wildly lopsided edge in touches in the final third, I wanted to see Benzema get across the front post more often, drag defenders out of position a little more, create and combine a little bit with the far-more-active Nasri.
I think Wilson gives England’s center backs more credit than they deserve. Yes, Joleon Lescott and John Terry were generally composed and almost always in the right spots, I just think Benzema made it too easy for them.
And Danny Welbeck and Ashley Young with a pair of “7s.” C’mon, man. Your Union Jack is showing. Which, I suppose, is OK in a sense; patriotism when it comes attached to balanced journalistic endeavor is always a tricky and complicated task, believe me. But still…